Animal Research Plays Key Role in 2015 Nobel Prize Awards

Today, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three researchers for their efforts to conquer parasitic disease: William Campbell of Ireland, Satoshi Omura of Japan, and China's Youyou Tu.

Campbell and Omura discovered and developed Avermectin, a new drug which has helped reduce the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, also known as elephantiasis.  When discussing their work, the Nobel Assembly noted, "The importance of Ivermectin (the American derivative of Avermectin) for improving the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals with River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, primarily in the poorest regions of the world, is immeasurable. Treatment is so successful that these diseases are on the verge of eradication."  Animal research with cattle, sheep, dogs, and chickens played an important role in this discovery.

As most already know, Malaria is mosquito-borne disease caused by parasites and it kills almost 500,000 people worldwide every year.  Using the Artemisia annua plant and mouse models, Tu discovered that purification of the plant yielded an agent called Artemisinin which the Nobel Assembly calls “a new class of antimalarial agents that rapidly kill the Malaria parasites at an early stage of their development.”

NABR congratulates this year’s Nobel Laureates and applauds them for their important research that will improve the lives of millions globally.

To learn more about these Nobel Laureates and the animal research in their groundbreaking developments, please read CNN’s report or click here to read Speaking of Research’s analysis.

Sign-Up Today for NABR’s Next Exclusive Webinar!

On Tuesday, October 20, join NABR for our upcoming webinar, "It's Not the Same Old Same Old: Completing Your 2015 Annual Report."

This NABR-exclusive webinar will cover the changes to Chapter 7 of the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide (AWIG) and highlight the new requirements for completing and filing the USDA's Annual Report (Form 7023).

"It's Not the Same Old Same Old: Completing Your 2015 Annual Report" will give these changes and their impact on the USDA annual report process a thorough review.  The webinar will also provide another look at the importance of compiling a report accurately reflecting the activity at your institution without unnecessary details that could place you in jeopardy.

All of those responsible for compiling and submitting the annual report should be aware of the changes, namely the clarification of reportable exceptions, and be adjusting their internal policies and procedures to incorporate those changes.  THIS WEBINAR SHOULD NOT BE MISSED! 

Space is limited for this webinar and will likely run out quickly so please register ASAP!

 

Join us on October 20, 2015 by reserving your spot today!

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Michael Lauer to Serve as NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research

Michael S. Lauer, MD, is to be the new NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, replacing Sally Rockey, PhD. He is expected to assume this new position in the coming weeks.

From 2009 to the present, Lauer served as Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where he began his career at NIH in 2007. He was most recently named the NIH Co-Chair for the President's Precision Medicine Initiative. Dr. Lauer has been actively involved and a strong advocate of human subjects protection. He is also very familiar with animal research issues given the reliance on animal models of many NHLBI-supported programs. As NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, the Office of Laboratory Animal Research (OLAW) will report to him.

For more background, please see the complete appointment announcement here.

New York Times Features Guest Column Highlighting Problematic FWS Chimpanzee Rule

As NABR reported on September 21, all chimpanzees are listed as endangered under U.S. law, both wild and captive, as the result of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision earlier this year.  The rule went into effect on September 14.  Just this past weekend, Peter Walsh, a lecturer in primate ecology at Cambridge University penned an opinion piece in the September 26 edition of the New York Times outlining potential problems resulting from the FWS decision.

Protecting Apes Could Backfire” discusses several unintended consequences that could have detrimental effects to health advancements not just for humans but for great apes, as well.  Recently, much has been made about the ancestor of the HIV virus, Ebola, and anthrax in humans but little has been mentioned about infections in great apes like gorillas and chimpanzees.  Researchers are racing against the clock to stop these naturally occurring threats to preserve the species but that may all cease because of the importance of captive animals to research.  Not a single research program has applied for a permit and it is uncertain as to whether any will.  The piece also makes several other interesting points pertaining to the shockwaves that will be sent through research benefitting humans.

Feel free to read “Protecting Apes Could Backfire” by clicking here.

Animal Rights Activists Discover the Truth After Touring Research Facility

It is a well-known fact that opposition to animal research has waged a long campaign of misinformation to misguide the public’s perception.  Recently the University of Guelph in Canada took invited individuals from an activist group to tour its facility.  As the blog Speaking of Research describes, the results were quite surprising.

The group, calling itself the Animal Rights Compliance, was given an insider look at the University’s operations giving a glowing, honest review of a research program striving to improve global human and animal health.  The group notes:

“Mary was very transparent with the University’s policies and I was given a tour of where, currently, only 6 dogs are housed. I was impressed with several issues; The University has extensive dogwalking/caregiving procedures, as well as adoption policies using staff, students and volunteers. It works in co-ordination with the local and area Humane Societies. My understanding is that their treatment models are evolving all the time, with the replacement of live animals with other means whenever possible. Another example is that spay and neutered pets are regularly returned to the Humane Society for adoption.”

These are strange words coming from an organization who states support on their Facebook page for “The complete abolition vivisection, animal research or drug testing cosmetics, testing of consumer products on animals. Infractions need to be dealt with by fines and minimum incarceration times.”

To learn more, please click here to read Speaking of Research’s account of the interaction.

Scientists Learn More about Human Cancers from Dogs

Researchers have successfully defined molecular subtypes of lymphoma from three separate dog breeds by comparing them to their human counterparts.  Lymphoma, a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, is the most common cancer in dogs and develops in over 550,000 humans a year.

A paper on the research was published by Ingegerd Elvers, et al. in Genome Research on September 16, 2015 and clearly illustrates the importance of translational research benefiting both global human and animal health.  Senior author Dr. Jessica Alfoldi of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard notes, “Working with the tumor DNA of golden retrievers, cocker spaniels and boxers, we have identified genes with known involvement in human lymphoma and other cancers as well as novel genes that could help in the discovery of much-needed new treatment options for cancer.”

Dogs are becoming increasingly invaluable in cancer studies to understand the similarities of the disease in both human and dogs.  Hopefully, the findings from these studies will yield results that can be applied to novel approaches to treat and cure cancer. To read the publication in Genome Research, please click here.

UK Research Facility Explains Why Dogs Are Needed

Harlan recently opened the doors of its research dog breeding facility in Cambridge, England to The Sun, a major UK newspaper. The result was a balanced article describing the excellent facilities and reasons dogs are needed for research purposes. The article included many photos, a listing of drugs whose development depended, in part, on the use of dogs, and public opinions. Yes, research opponents are quoted, but so are medical researchers. A pharmacology professor states, “I’ve been in medical research for 30 years. I recently worked on a new drug for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As part of the process of making sure it’s safe for man we commissioned experiments on dogs. You can’t just take people off the street and give them the drug straight away. This process is for the safety of the public. We don’t do these experiments on animals because we want to. [Government regulatory requirements for safety testing are mentioned elsewhere.] A lot of people, including me, spend their lives looking for alternatives to animals, but a single cell is not the same as a whole organism.”

Harlan’s communications director, Andrew Gay, is quoted extensively. He says, “The beagles’ role is vital in developing important new drugs for serious illnesses in humans — including high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and also cancer.” Gay concluded, “These are working dogs. It’s an honorable thing for a dog to do and for us to ask a dog to do. The people who work here love dogs and while they are with us we want to make sure they have the best care possible. They are doing a great service for us.

Read the full article here.

U.S. Captive Chimpanzees Designation as Endangered Species Is Now in Effect

As of September 14, all chimpanzees are listed as endangered under U.S. law, both wild and captive, as the result of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision earlier this year. With the new designation, it is illegal to sell chimpanzees in the interstate pet trade or to engage in commercial transport of the animals across state lines. Permits are now required for anyone wishing to conduct biomedical research involving captive chimpanzees, and will only be issued by FWS if it will benefit the survival of the species.

The effective date of the FWS action was welcomed by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO Wayne Pacelle in several blog messages (see here and here). It was also celebrated online by other animal activists. “It's so good to hear that unnecessary biomedical research on chimpanzees is coming to an end . . .” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said on her Facebook page September 8 along with a picture of chimpanzees.

Meanwhile, there has been broad news coverage about the race to find an Ebola vaccine in order to save wild Great Apes, including chimpanzees, whose numbers are being decimated by the disease in Africa. The testing of vaccines in chimpanzees at the New Iberia Primate Research Center in Louisiana, and the question of whether that work would continue after September 14, was raised in a National Public Television Newshour segment. That question is still unanswered. The Atlantic Magazine raises more questions about how harmful the new restrictions on biomedical research with chimpanzees may be to wild populations in the story “Should Apes Be Saved from Ebola?

Join Us on Tuesday, October 20 for NABR’s Next Webinar, “It’s Not the Same Old, Same Old: Completing Your 2015 Annual Report”

NABR's next exclusive webinar has been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, October 20.

"It's Not the Same Old Same Old: Completing Your 2015 Annual Report" will cover the changes to Chapter 7 of the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide (AWIG), and highlight the new requirements for completing and filing the Annual Report (Form 7023).  All of those responsible for compiling and submitting the annual report should be aware of the changes, namely the clarification of reportable exceptions, and be adjusting their internal policies and procedures to incorporate those changes.

Join NABR as these changes and their impact on the annual report process will be given a thorough review.  The webinar will also provide a re-review of the importance of compiling a report accurately reflecting the activity at your institution without unnecessary details that could place you in jeopardy.

Space is limited for this webinar and will likely run out quickly so please register ASAP!

register now

NABR, FBR President’s Op-Ed on Cardiology Breakthrough Published in the Tampa Tribune

In case you missed it, the Tampa Tribune featured an op-ed piece by Frankie Trull, President of the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) on August 23.

Animal research remains at heart of medical progress” highlights possibly one of the biggest breakthroughs in cardiac care in recent history.  Thanks to a few dozen pigs, cardiac patients who once may have been unfit for surgery can now have faulty heart valves replaced noninvasively.  The new procedure, called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), eliminates the need for open-heart surgery.  TAVR uses a tube holding a folded-up valve inserted into the groin. The tube is threaded into the heart and the valve opened up with a balloon.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger even underwent TAVR last year, saying, “I am more energetic, people tell me I look better, and I feel much less tired.”  Had he not undergone TAVR, his doctors told him he would be confined to a wheelchair with a 50-50 chance of surviving an additional year.  “Those who oppose animal testing, in short, are obstructing medical innovations that promise to add years to the lives of older Americans — precious years that can be productive and satisfying,” noted Ms. Trull.

To read the op-ed and to learn more, please click here.

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